Europe’s Peril, Teeth and Resumes, Russia’s Victory in Syria, Celebrating Free Trade, Luther’s Warning

What I’m listening to.

Beethovan Trio in B-Flat Major, Op. 11, "Gassenhauer", "Piano Trio No. 4

People change cities, countries, continents. (Thanks to David of London.)

Daily Mail -- Could this lead to war in Europe? 

Last week in Washington, I met an old friend who is one of the smartest strategy wonks I know. His business is crystal ball-gazing.

 

Quote -- ‘Democracy only works where there is a broad consensus about the distribution of wealth and power.’ 

Background.

BBC -- Migrant crisis: Migration to Europe explained in seven charts

More than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015, sparking a crisis as countries struggled to cope with the influx, and creating division in the EU over how best to deal with resettling people.

Economist -- The Migration Crisis

What do teeth and resumes have in common in Canada? Whitening. (Thanks to Mark of Toronto.)

Toronto Star -- Jobseekers resort to ‘resumé whitening' to get a foot in the door, study shows

A major two-year study led by U of T researchers shows minority job applicants use Anglicized names, downplay ethnic experience in the hopes of landing a job.

How minority job applicants ‘whiten’ their resumés:

Unwhitened: Name of a black applicant on resumé appears as “Lamar J. Smith”;

Whitened: Changed to “L. James Smith”;

Unwhitened: Name of an Asian applicant on resumé appears as “Lei Zhang”;

Whitened: Changed it to “Luke Zhang”;

Unwhitened: Lists involvement as vice-president of Aspiring African American Business Leaders and peer counsellor of Black Students’ Association;

Whitened: Removes those organizations and replaces with causes such as “Give Kids a Smile Day” and first-year student orientation;

Unwhitened: Lists volunteer experience and interests that are exclusively within Korean community organizations;

Whitened: Removes them and replaces with hiking, snowboarding and activities common in Western culture;

Unwhitened: Being the political action chair of Black Students Association;

Whitened: Changes that to member of a generic minority business and entrepreneur group;

Mission Accomplished.

Boston Globe -- What Russia won in Syria

Vladimir Putin’s Tuesday decision to scale down the Russian military campaign in Syria seems to have caught world leaders off their guard. But is the Russian leader’s declaration of mission accomplished really that surprising?

Free trade has been getting a bad name for all the wrong reasons.

National Review -- Free Trade Isn’t a Burden, It’s a Blessing and an Opportunity for American Industry

It is remarkable the extent to which discussions of free trade begin by reflecting back on an extraordinary moment in human history — the almost generation-long apex of American economic hegemony when the United States was the only great industrial power left unscathed by World War II. 

In the 'ever wondered about it' category.

Church and State --When Did the Catholic Church Decide Priests Should Be Celibate?

The belief that religious figures should be celibate began long before the birth of Christianity. Ancient Druid priests were thought to have been celibate and Aztec temple priests were expected to remain sexually abstinent. Other pre-Christian sects mandated that the people chosen for their sacrificial offerings must be pure, meaning that they had never engaged in sex.

Quote -- “Martin Luther warned, “we are all driven to the secret sin. To say it crudely but honestly, if it doesn’t go into a woman, it goes into your shirt.” 

 

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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©

Twin Virtues

Ultimately, the most successful societies find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcomes and equality of opportunity.

The new politics must marry the twin virtues of unequal outcomes and equality of opportunity.

When too few get too much everybody loses.

Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshalling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.

Can it be that striving for equality of opportunity however imperfect the process not only benefits the individual but also creates benefits for the society that are unintended but wonderful?

Economics must be a 'moral enterprise' as much as politics claims to be. Economic outcomes need to be framed in terms of right and wrong not just efficiency if only because these often align in surprising ways that are good for society and the economy.

My vision of Canada is that any Canadian child from a family of limited circumstance can expect to have a chance at lifetime of unlimited opportunities.

Free trade is a wonderful thing. Time and time again economists have proven that free trade creates enormous wealth for each country 'on the whole'. Historians have shown that free trade is usually associated with rising political, social and cultural liberty. The perennial problem is that free trade always creates tremendous disruption for thousands even millions of individuals often concentrated in one geography, and where the state is idle, not investing in best in class instruments of social justice, free trade can be a permanent ticket out of the middle class, down, not up.

Tax policy should be founded on the principle of generating steady tax revenues sufficient to maximise environmentally sustainable economic growth in order to fund fair government.

Public policy should be designed to decrease inequality before the law and increase equality of opportunity.

Capitalism is not the problem; the problem is what we do with capitalism.

Content is always more difficult to argue than conspiracy.

Let the state regulate and the market operate (most things).

Welfare strategies are best designed as a hand up, not as a hand out.

Political debate should not be fact free fighting.

Explanation lasts longer than eloquence.

Always favour empowerment over dependency.

The most enduring public figures are embraced for the causes they fought for and not the concept of themselves they hoped others would remember them by.

Find your voice and don't be the echo of somebody else.

It is possible to operate on two different levels: the practical, cautious and conservative; and the realm of ideas, open, free, and radical.